One of the greatest adepts, teachers, writers, and humanitarians of the 20th century, Swami Rama (1925-1996) is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in Northern India, he was raised from early childhood by the Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master, he traveled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster who was living in a remote region of Tibet. In addition to this intense spiritual training, Swami Rama received higher education in both India and Europe. From 1949 to 1952, he held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. Thereafter, he returned to his master to receive further training at his cave monastery, and finally in 1969, came to the United States where he founded the Himalayan Institute. His best known work, Living With the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the East.
"You will have to practice for a long time. Abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah. Practice means repetition of the same thing again and again and again to form a strong habit. Habits are motivation in life. If you do not have determination to attain that which should be attained, if you are not constantly aware of that Reality, how can you practice? You will feel lazy and you will not be able to sit in meditation.
There is one alarm in your system, something coming from within that guides all the time. There is one teacher within you called your conscience. Whenever you want to do something that should not be done, immediately from inside something says, Don’t do that. It silently says no. It is not a part of the mind. Rather it is your conscience that is telling your mind, whispering to your mind. You have been avoiding that. Habit patterns are so strong that the voice of silence, the voice of the conscience, is not heard. You do not need anyone from outside to tell you what not to do. You know that you should not lie; yet you lie. Once mind listens to these secret whispers, then you are introduced to the real teacher within, your own conscience. All teachings are meant for that day when you start listening to your conscience. It does not mean that you should not listen to the external teacher who is teaching you. Your teacher is trying to make you aware that there is something within you, a teacher within, who is a great friend. No matter who you are, your conscience is always there. If you learn to listen to the voice of the conscience, you can transform your whole personality. That conscience knows everything. No book can teach you; no teacher can teach you. Conscience knows and knows that it knows. Even when you go to a teacher to ask something, you draw your own conclusions and follow your conscience.
But you do not always listen to the teachings of your conscience. In fact, you are constantly killing your conscience. According to the great books, the greatest sin of all is to kill your conscience. After some time your conscience stops talking to you because you do not listen to it. You have ignored your conscience so much that it has become silent. It continues to witness your actions but does not say anything. Learn to listen to your conscience."
– Swami Rama, Yoga The Sacred Science, Volume I, Samadhi, The Highest State of Wisdom